Exercise Recovery

December 9, 2022

Have you ever had a really good workout in which you felt strong, broke a sweat, and enjoyed yourself only to wake up the next morning with lots of muscle soreness? In this article we are taking a look at how our muscles recover from exercise and what we can do to help the process. 

We eat, sleep, work, workout, repeat. Is there a point where too much exercise becomes harmful? In an article on this same topic, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) explains that answering this question starts with a basic understanding of homeostasis, stress, and recovery within the body.

  • Homeostasis is a state of balance within the body that occurs when the variables in a system (e.g., pH, temperature) are regulated to keep internal conditions stable and relatively constant.
  • Stress is a stimulus that overcomes (or threatens to overcome) the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis. We will focus on stress related to exercise, which is called physiological stress (e.g., muscle tears, dehydration, pain) and.
  • Recovery is the body’s process for restoring homeostasis.

Our bodies are designed to handle different forms of stress, it’s how we are able to build our capacity. Short periods of physiological stress followed by the right recovery (which enables adaptation and restores homeostasis) are generally considered healthy. However, physiological stress that is not followed by enough recovery may, over time, compromise homeostasis and immune function. This may increase the probability of injury and/or illness. Our bodies are generally strong and tough, but if we overwork them and don’t recover properly they may not be able to perform the way they should. 

According to the NASM, recovery is a process that includes rest, refueling through nutrition, rehydration, regeneration (repair), resynthesis, reduction of inflammation, and restoration that ultimately returns the body to homeostasis. It’s helpful to think of three categories of recovery:

  • Immediate recovery, which happens in the short time between successive efforts (between repetitions within a set of biceps curls)
  • Short-term recovery, which happens between sets (between interval sprints or weight training sets)
  • Training recovery, which happens between workouts or competitions

Focusing on training recovery offers the greatest potential benefit because everything that happens outside of an exercise session—i.e., life—has a potential impact. So, we have to ask: Are we truly recovering from training, based on how our bodies deal with stress and the hectic schedules many of us keep? And how do we get enough recovery? 

Usually, a good night’s sleep paired with proper hydration and nutrition will allow your body to return to homeostasis and recover from exercise. One form of recovery, known as active recovery, uses movements ranging from bursts of anaerobic activity to very light-intensity activity (e.g., cool down). The idea is to stimulate blood flow to the muscles and signal proteins to initiate healing/adaptation. Multiple studies have found that active recovery after repeated intense exercise results in faster returns to homeostasis compared with passive recoveries that use no movement. There are several other forms of recovery, most of which are passive; including massage, cryotherapy, compression, and hydrotherapy. There are mixed opinions on the effectiveness of these methods, but the best results are usually found with active recovery. This is why you might see us use a cool down at the end of a training session or encourage you to walk or get moving when you go back home between your sessions here. 

Keep these tips in mind and please use us as a resource if you have any questions about how we can help your body to get enough recovery. We want to continue helping you get stronger and not more worn down in the process. 


Our bodies are designed to handle different forms of stress, it’s how we are able to build our capacity.

Peak Performance Care

in Sonora CA

13949 Mono Way

PO Box 4143

Sonora, CA 95370


(209) 532 1288

Fax: (209) 230 9529

Monday/Wednesday: 8am-5:30pm

Tuesday/Thursday: 6am-5pm

Friday: 6am-2pm

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.